Update May 27: Samsung Behold II not Getting 2.x – Legal Action Being Considered

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In a video orginaly released to youtube on November 7, 2009 but was since removed by samsung, Samsung promises Behold II owners that they will get upgraded to Android 2.x when it arrived. These same users are still sitting at 1.5. They have waited patiently as updates rolled out hoping they would be next. Well it turns out their patience may be in vain after all.

The response received by one owner when he inquired about the problem and then forced their hand was as such:

“Dear Matthew,
Thank you for your inquiry. The SGH-T939 will never qualify for the Android 2X update.

Your continued interest in Samsung products is appreciated.


Technical Support”

Going through and looking at owners statements on their experience with Samsung in trying to get info on the upgrade, every answer appears to be the same, “no upgrade”. So when looking at Samsung’s promotional video for the Behold II, they specifically state that it will get the 2.x update. Enter the Galaxy S. It appears, this is speculation however, that the upgrade has been dropped to push Behold II users to upgrade to this phone. There isn’t whole lot unusual about this, however let’s look at the facts. In the first place the upgrade was “promised”, second of all the Behold II was only released in November of 2009. We are barely over one half of a year past the release date and they have already stopped supporting this phone with updates. To make matters worse, even if your phone is rooted you cant upgrade, because the devs don’t have all of the source code for the phone, thus they cant even develop a 2.1 ROM that you can run on the phone.

Now after the disappointment and frustration of buying a phone that was promised an update that will never come, owners are now looking for some type of compensation. Questions are being asked and this is the direction the questions are headed:

“Ok i want to know if Samsung really doesn’t give updates to the behold 2, what’s our options legally? They lied to us all and we paid more for this phone than many other android phones out there! im willing to take a stand cuz i can’t root and the whole reason i got this phone was the promises Samsung gave us in videos hyping this phone up;( so if anybody knows anything about law i want to know if strength in numbers and legal pressure would force them to put out an update to at least yesterday standard”

This truly is the question of the hour. These owners signed a two year contract, should they not be entitled to at least 18 months of support? Well, ethically, yes. Legally? Probably not. They created the phone and it appears to have been a failure for them. As a matter of ethics, it was their blunder they should have to live with it, not their customers. But in big business it isn’t about that it is about legality and profit. Unless it was in their contract that they would receive certain updates, for a certain period of time, then there is no legal action that could be taken, except maybe on a technicality. If the video that was release doesn’t have a disclaimer (it doesn’t appear to) then it could all come down to phraseology. How they said what they said about the phone could give grounds for compensation, or it could just as well be, as one owner put it, “a case of mileage may vary”.

It is becoming quite apparent even with all of the complaints by phone and email and even Twitter, that Samsung is set on ending support for this device. Owners will be left with another year of old fashioned Android before they can upgrade or even simply jump ship from T-Mobile, as it appears that they aren’t interested in helping their customers in this fight either.

One of the beauties of Android is that it is utterly customizable. However due to all of the customizations the manufacturers make, there is an unprecedented level of complexity added to the upgrade process. Everything must be updated to work on and take advantage of the latest version of Android before it can be released. I’m not against customization. However, if a manufacturer is going to customize the OS they need to realize they are taking responsibility to maintain these customizations and still provide timely updates to the latest versions as they are released. I have yet to find a user who would prefer to have their OEM customization over the latest update. These users would much prefer a stock ROM with the latest version. An idea….Make the customizations available to your customers as market downloads or as downloads from the Manufacturer’s website.

It does appear however that this debacle could wind up costing Samsung and even T-Mobile a lot of customers because of their lack of regard for their users in this situation. Can this be pursued legally? It remains to be seen. Should this have an impact on your decision to purchase a Samsung phone? Well we hope this is an isolated incident, but to borrow the colloquialism, “proceed with caution”.

If you have an opinion or are in the same situation as these owners you may want to check out what is happening among their ranks and possibly even join them. Hop on over here, here, and here and take a look at what is happening. And my sincere regret if you are one of the owners wishing for the update that is to never come.

Update May 25th: The Samsung/T-Mobile Behold II saga continues to progress. There is a serious movement to get Samsung to update their phone. If you haven’t already, you may want to consider signing this petition to not only help Behold II users, but also send a message to phone manufacturers as a whole that customers don’t appreciate being ripped off or feeling that they are being ripped off. (Thanks to the commenters who provided the petition link.)As it appears right now, Samsung is not only not paying attention they are also getting fed up with hearing from people about this (that is exactly what needs to happen). In an excerpt from a comment which can be found here , Samsung told basically told a user to stop contacting them. Here is the quote, “We value your time and would not impose further to ask that you contact us for these updates. We will keep your contact information on hand so that we can respond to you directly once we are able to offer additional information.”  You can make your own determination, but that appears to be a leave us alone message. I encourage you to read the whole conversation however as it is enlightening. Samsung also appears to be throwing T-Mobile under the bus in this quote from another correspondent, “Thank you for your inquiry. The update for your device from 1.5 to 1.6 is not released and we don’t have a future release date for the 2.0 if you have additional questions about the update contact T-mobile. We appreciate your continued support of Samsung products.”

As has been noted Samsung certainly has taken down the video. No question about it they are feeling the pressure, as well they should. I say keep the pressure on them and T-Mobile should also realize that if they aren’t willing to help their customers that they are in danger of being hurt in this as well.

The video was captured by Samsung Behold II owner and is now available here.

I will continue to update this article as things progress.

Update May 27th: The word is now official. Samsung has said if you have a Behold II the highest you will be able to upgrade will be Android 1.6. The Official Tweet from Samsung Mobile USA is below.

And where does the link take you? Well, to the comment below.

So when did the phone become impossible to upgrade past 1.6? I think we are seeing more smoke.

How far are the Behold II owners going to take this? It remains to be seen, but I believe they have the backing of the android community. This could just be the beginning.

We will continue to follow this story and see how it plays out so stay tuned for the latest.